| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of St. John's University Athletics


For the seventh time, the St. John’s men’s tennis team is the champions of the BIG East. The Red Storm won the conference title last weekend as it defeated Butler 4-0 in the championship and earned an automatic bid to the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said head coach Dillon Pottish. “We had ups and downs all season long, but we always felt like we were the best team in the conference. I think believing that and then being seeded second added some extra motivation for our guys. We felt we were the best team, so it was nice to back that up in the tournament.”

St. John’s got started in the finals thanks to its doubles teams. Nishant Dabas & Carl Gustafsson won 6-1 at second doubles, while Diogo Marques & Axel Vila Antuna won 6-1 at first doubles to seal the doubles point for the Red Storm.

Marques would continue the momentum for his team as he posted a 6-2, 6-3 victory in the first singles spot. Soon after, Gustafsson and Giuseppe De Camelis won at third singles and fifth singles, respectively, at almost exactly the same time, clinching the title for the Johnnies.

The win was the 20th of the season for St. John’s, the most since 2016. For his efforts, Marques earned the title of BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, going undefeated in both singles and doubles throughout the tournament.

“He’s someone we relied on all year,” Pottish said of Marques. “When I put out the lineup each match, I knew we had a very good chance of him winning and getting us a point. It’s my job then to find three other points down the lineup. It helps tremendously. He’s a veteran, so off the court he helps the guys in their preparation and all the things that are important to being successful.”

St. John’s now looks to add to that win total as it awaits who and where it will play in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, which begins May 6-7. Pottish and team are looking forward to the opportunity to compete on the national stage and attempt to win a round in the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history.

“We told the guys at practice that no one should be satisfied, and we still have that hunger,” he said. “We’ll play a top team but that’s a great thing for the program, and we want to keep building this thing. We’re excited to try and make a run in the NCAA Tournament and see what happens.”